Kingdom Principle: The Church is full of the Spirit, or it’s not the body of Christ.
The church is not to be full of themselves.
|Genesis 11:1-9||Psalm 104:24-34, 35b||Romans 8:14-17
|John 14:8-17, (25-27)|
When I am not full of “it” – it being the Spirit of God – then I am full of it – it being $#it. I profess that the Spirit of God has been poured out upon the church, and I have full and constant access to this filling. How, I wish I could say that I constantly felt filled with the Spirit of God. Yet, the truth of the Scriptures this week is that I am full of the Spirit. (How then can there are days and weeks that I feel full of something else) Paul very clearly states in 2 Cor. 2:16, that to some being full of it is to smell like roses and to others “it” smells like death. Therefore, may I not let the response of others, even my own feelings dictate what I am full of – I must return to the promise of Christ, I have been given the fullness of the God and transferred into the Kingdom of light. (Col. 1:9-14, 2:6-12).
The last part of that Colosians passage says, “I have been buried with him and raise with him (Jesus) through your faith in the power of God who raised him from the dead.” It is the Spirit of God that has raised me and all those who call on the name of Jesus from the dead. This raising and filling experience of the Spirit is an on-going and present reality all the day of our lives.
Much has been written in this blog on the “work of the Spirit”:
- the roots & fruit of the Spirit – which are the work of the Father & expression of Jesus.
- the gifts of the Spirit – which exist for the building up of the body & advancement of the Kingdom.
- filled by the Spirit – which fills a believer to do and be more than they can imagine.
- born & baptized of the Spirit is the only way to experience intimacy of the Trinity
This post does not teach new content, rather it invites you to deepen the context by which you are seeing the movement of the Spirit in your life. You too are full of “it” but what is “it” for you?
Does your life look more like Babel or Pentecost?
- At Babel (Gen. 11) the devout labored to build a city with a tower to heaven, their end goal was to get to God. This daily labor was of good intention, and in “unity” the people surrounded themselves with like-minded doers. The work began with clarity, yet the story ends with confusion.
- At Pentecost (Acts 2) the devout waited and wondered when God would show up next. Their labor looked more like drunkenness than directed-ness and “unity” was experienced as an embrace of diversity. The work began with confusion, yet the story ends with clarity.
This story of the tower of Babel shows us that the directional flow of God is of the utmost importance. Unfortunately most churches are modeled “their work” after Babel and not Pentecost. This is not about “moving in the gifts, it is about understanding the flow and movement of God. At Babel humanity’s effort was accomplished in unity, and it produced a (self-prescribed) glorious result, yet this led to their destruction. The irony and connection to the modern church is found in building a building to get help people get to the heavens, while God is walking amongst you on earth. How have we (the church) today fallen into the same pattern of trying to reach God, while God is dwelling within us. The words of Jesus in John 14 and the conviction of Paul in Romans 8 call us to confront this confusion.
Fear Not – Life is not supposed to look like the progressive build of an ivory tower to heaven. In Fact – the story says, you can only get there if you come to your knees here on earth.
Pentecost redeems the Babel narrative – bringing all that was lost and dead, back to life. The greatest paradox of the Kingdom dwells in the fact that you can’t earn or attain God-like status; rather it is given freely to all who ask. This is never based on what is deserved – for clearly that s where we begin. In the wages of sin. (Romans 3:21-26, 6:19-23) Redemption is God’s greatest act. For in redemption God takes what has lost all value and redeems it with His value. Pentecost is the celebration for the church being filled with life and hope. God gave the greatest of gifts to the church in Pentecost, the out pouring of the Holy Spirit. This is the day that life entered its body (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, & Ephesians 5) and it became of source of life for all to come.
|Babel is redeemed through Pentecost|
|Movement from Earth to Heaven||
Movement from Heaven to Earth
|One common Language separated into many||
Many languages united and heard as one
|God prevents humanity from doing the impossible||
God gives power that nothing shall be impossible
|The work is done by the effort of man’s labor||
The work is done by no effort of man
|The motivation is based in pride||
The motivation is based in prayer
Through Pentecost all which is the church is baptized in the Spirit. To be full is to state a reality, a complete picture. Fruit is seasonal, and developed over time. Roots are hidden and anchor us in the storm. Let us be full of “it” as in SpirIT and experience to the fullness of life uniting the roots to the fruit by a movement of the gifts. May the church be full, ready, able and equipped to do all that God has called us to… This fullness of the church comes through the waters of baptism, is sustained through the communion of the saints and culminates in our daily act of living in worship. (we will look at each of these over the next three weeks) Therefore Let the Church:
- Drink of the waters of our Spiritual baptism, affirming our identity as found in Christ.
- Be the body of Christ. Equipped with the gifts to move without offense or defense.
- Live in this everyday hope to be poured out, so that we shall be refilled doing the work of the Kingdom.
The waters of baptism are not simply or even a confessional belief or conviction to follow Jesus – rather they invite you to profess an identity that is found in Christ. This identity is that which is from God and can not in any way be taken from you in this world. Much of what we consider our identity are mere labels and roles we have accumulated, choice and put on in this world. Therefore no matter how, or where or with whom things in your life progress or regress – only that which can not be shaken is anchored in the Kingdom. (Hebrews 12:28) This anchor of identity is deeply rooted in the gift of the Spirit and whispers of the Father upon you’re your heart.
Baptism is a death and resurrection experience. This act of the Spirit is not dependent on when (infant or adult), how (immersion or sprinkle) or by whom (pastor, priest, church or denomination etc..) you were baptized. It is either by the Spirit which rose Jesus from the dead, and fell afresh on the church on Pentecost – or your baptism simply leaves you wet and soggy.
The celebration of our baptism is one of movement and that movement is God coming to us. While our response is a movement towards God, this is not what baptism is all about – that is the communion of the saints. (next week) Unfortunately, baptism has come to celebrate our coming to God. (It is for this reason that infant baptism is often misunderstood and rejected –so sad) When we misplace this emphasis we are setting ourselves up to function like a church which is building a tower to heaven. It sets us up to believe that our lives are to be ever-improving and progressing toward heaven, rather than celebrating that heaven has already come to earth. Dallas Willard has stated that the Church is in error when it preaches the message that you need to accept Jesus to get into heaven when you die – his hope for the gospel of Jesus is in leading people to get into heaven BEFORE you Die.
The fact is that baptism saves us from this show. You may think I’m full of it and to that I say – YES I am. No matter what happens in my life – my identity is secured and establish, and for this reason, I am full. To be full:
- Remember your Baptism… What memories and confirmation of the work the Spirit can you point to?
- Make a list of who you define your identity. Think of that which cannot be taken from you. As you think of your identity – do you think of yourself as a sinner or a saint?
- Reclaim your Baptism… In your life where can you trace the roots of the Spriit, express the gifts of the Spirit, and give away the fruit of the Spirit.